Virtual reality is coming, waiting to overtake the actual reality. Or just coming to transform the way we play video games, socialize and do business. It‘s either one or the other. One thing is certain: the future of VR is so bright, we need sunglasses inside our headsets. With that mind, let’s look at some brave predictions of how VR will have changed the world in the far-off year 2020.
For one thing, VR will be HUGE in the future. Huge, I tell you. Starting with this year, VR headsets will become a permanent addition to the electronics market. The consumers already want it and they’ll want VR even more as better apps become available. This will double VR sales every year and will do so until market saturation is reached sometime in the 2020’s. We currently have one billion of PC and console gamers and four billion of smartphone users, so the number of VR users will be similar. This rings especially true when you consider that mobile headsets will outnumber PC/Console ones. After all, smarphones are ubiquitous and getting better all the time, and the mobile headsets are almost incomparably cheaper. You already have all the hardware you need right there, no expensive rig or console necessary.
But virtual reality will bring more changes than just new shelves at the electronics store. For one thing, it’s going to influence the video game market in new and mysterious ways. By 2020, we’ll probably have thriving market of asymmetrical party videogames. It’s not hard to imagine several friends donning VR headsets and jumping into a game orchestrated by one friend who remains in the “real world”. Much like a Dungeon Master in Dungeons and Dragons, that friend will be able to shape game levels, add challenges and enemies and more. However, it’s probably not the most revolutionary of the changes that we’ll witness. New platforms have a way of introducing genres of games we haven’t had before, and by 2020, we’ll have at least one VR-centric game genre. I guess you will be able to play on a PC or Console even without a headset, but the experience will be severely degraded if you do it this way.
Predictably, VR media will also have its own related panics. We can be sure that by 2020 at least one shooting or a violent attack will be blamed on VR games or even movies. This is a fruit that hangs so low, it takes effort not to pick it. There will also be news about VR addiction – this is also unavoidable, just like cases of actual VR addiction will be. Again, VR, much like TV and video games and what not, VR will be judged safe when used with moderation (a shocking reveal), but some people will just not care about it at all. We will also have horror movies playing on fears of VR one way or the other. If we have a horror movie based on Skype video, we will definitely have movies about people possessed by VR demons, trapped in VR experiences, and other stuff that draws inspiration from the wealthy trove of “creepy-pasta” stories.
But what about the impact of VR on the old medias? The moving picture business is already abuzz with the possibilities. Already we have had documentaries, funded by UN even, tackling such subjects as Syrian refugee camps and Ebola survivors. Without a doubt, we will have award-winning VR documentaries by the year 2020. Not superhero movies, though – plot holes are too easy to see in 360! However, there will definitely be VR reality shows. Maybe we won’t be able to step into the shoes of the contestants – though one artist already did it, following an another person’s daily routine through VR – but we will be able to be there intimately. This will be more immersive, but also taxing on the producers – they will need to learn new editing tricks to keep up the drama!
And that is that: social media will reign supreme in the virtual year of 2020. We will have a completely new social network, based completely on VR and not operated by any of the old guard (Facebook, Instagram, etc). Social experiences, like VR meetups, games and watching movies, will be generating a great amount of revenue. This will include VR boardgames, too: by porting the games to VR, you remove the need for people to go outside to meet their friends. Who knows, maybe this aspect will be dominated by augmented reality boardgames instead. Who wouldn’t want to see their monopoly shoe animated in AR?
2020 is some time away, but it’s going to be a great time for producers of VR content. And anyone can get in on the action! Game engines are now almost universally free, and stock 3D markets exists for those who don’t need or want to have a modeling department. Just create a development document, recruit a few friends, grab Unreal Engine, acquire stock 3D models from the vast hoard held by CGTrader and you’re set to go. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one making VR predictions for the year 2030!